61st Beanpot, Northeastern vs. Boston College: Title Defense, Take 3


Twice in the previous two years, the Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team has been in the position of having to defend its Beanpot title. Now, for the third-straight season, the Eagles enter the Beanpot championship contest as the defending champions, and BC looks to run its streak to four. This time, as it was several years ago, their opponents are the Northeastern Huskies.

The BC hockey senior class is on an incredible run when it comes to these games at the TD Garden. As a matter of fact, when it comes to the Beanpot and the Hockey East Tournament, the current senior class hasn’t lost a single one of those games on Garden ice. In March, the Eagles will look to make it four consecutive Hockey East titles, but for now, their focus will be the Beanpot.

Boston College and Northeastern have recent history, both in the 2012-13 regular season and in earlier Beanpots. In the 59th Beanpot (2011), BC defeated Northeastern 7-6 in overtime after Jimmy Hayes knocked the game-winner into the net. During the regular season, the Eagles and Huskies have met three times, with BC dropping the season opener, winning the next one, and then winning a blowout in the third. The most recent meeting between them was on January 19 when BC won at Northeastern, 9-3.

When these two have met in the finals, BC is 2-1 — it goes without saying that their encountering one another in this title game is rare, mostly because Northeastern hardly ever finds itself in it. They did beat Boston University last week for the first time in 25 years in the Beanpot, with 25 years being precisely how long it’s been since the Huskies have won the whole thing. Northeastern beat BC in the semifinals to get to that 1988 title game, so they’re hoping they can repeat history in reverse in 2013.

As for Boston College, they have plenty of Hockey East history with the Huskies, some of which is quite recent. The last time they met, to say BC was on top of its game offensively would be an understatement. The Eagles know that Northeastern can beat them, since they did back in October, but that was a very long time ago and both squads have gone in different directions. BC has seemingly rebounded from another bad January slump to retain its top spot in Hockey East, while Northeastern has sunk into last place. Ironically enough, both of the Huskies’ last two wins were against BU; they’ve not beaten a team aside from the Terriers since December 29.

This is a game BC should expect to win. They’ve had some extra time off thanks to the blizzard, they should be fresh, and frankly, they are a better team. It’s nice to win this tournament as a status symbol, but it’s more important for the Eagles to build momentum heading into the trophy season. It has been months since BC strung three wins together, and if they can do it tonight, they’ll have everyone believing that the Eagles are moving in the right direction once again.

The puck is expected to drop at 7:30pm on NESN.